We have some BIG news: we’re launching the Gigi’s-Ohio State University Joint Parvovirus Research Initiative!
We’re collaborating with The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine to enhance research around canine parvovirus (parvo). Parvo is a highly aggressive and contagious disease that can kill a dog within 72 hours. It’s also exceptionally expensive to treat. That means right now most shelter dogs with parvo – and many dogs with caring owners – aren’t able to receive treatment.
Treating Homeless Dogs with Parvo at Gigi’s
Last year, we opened Gigi’s Parvovirus Treatment Center to treat homeless dogs with parvo in our program and our partners’ care. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’re able to provide life-saving treatment for dogs that wouldn’t otherwise get a fighting chance. Dogs like Otis, Lucy, Chap, and Moot.
Our veterinarians and staff, who provide sometimes round-the-clock care for these critically-ill dogs, will work closely with the team from Ohio State. Together, we’ll research ways to improve current treatments and study new ways to treat parvo.
“This extension of our research and education partnership with OSU aims to deliver unprecedented treatment to dogs suffering from this deadly disease to save even more shelter dogs,” said Colleen Shockling, DVM, MPH, Gigi’s director of education, outreach and the Parvovirus Treatment Center and the co-principal investigator of the initiative.
“Right now, when a dog in a shelter tests positive for parvo, it’s often a terminal diagnosis,” said Dr. Shocking. “We want to change that. Ultimately our goal is to find new treatment strategies that are effective, accessible, and affordable so more dogs have an opportunity to reach recovery regardless of their circumstances or their owner’s financial situation.”
Partnering on Life-changing Research
The research will be broken into two phases, which will include studying samples and clinical information from dogs in our program, conducting clinical trials, and additional exploratory research from stored specimens and a clinical database.
“In collaboration with Gigi’s, we aim to establish a unique interdisciplinary canine parvovirus research hub, with to the intention to develop future canine parvovirus knowledgeable scientists and veterinarians…” said Jenessa Winston, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, assistant professor at the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State and principal investigator of the initiative.
Our new initiative and continued partnership with Ohio State is made possible by our generous founders, George and Tina Skestos. George and Tina also are generous supporters of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. In fact, they’ve established more than 15 scholarships for students to study Shelter Medicine.
“We are so proud to partner in the Gigi’s-Ohio State Joint Canine Parvovirus Research Initiative,” said George and Tina Skestos. “This (is an) all too common problem, especially in shelters and other resource-limited environments. Our collective goals are to improve the health, wellbeing, and survival of these and other dogs in shelters/humane societies. And (ultimately) to find them loving pet parents and forever homes.”
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months about this exciting research!